I’m not saying you can’t be successful in making a good stoner comedy, but at this point in the growth of the human race– it seems like a cheap and easy way to get laughs. High School does have an interesting enough spin to separate it from the pack. Working as a double edged satire on those, Dangers of Drug-use educational films, High School plays the morals card better than most.
Henry is an insanely bright student. On his way to being the class valedictorian with a full scholarship to M.I.T., he’s ready to leave high school behind and really put his talents to good use. Travis on the other hand, is a loser. Stoned every minute of every day, he doesn’t care who knows it. One morning, these two opposing forces meet in an unfortunate fender bender that lands them both in detention. While things seem tenser than ever between these two former childhood friends, they make amends and try to catch up on some old memories.
During their bonding session, Henry partakes in smoking weed, for the first time ever. Later that evening though, the two learn their overbearing principle, sick of the infestation of drugs in his school, has called for school wide drug testing the next day. Thinking he’ll lose his scholarship when he tests positive for marijuana, Henry agrees to join Travis pull off one impossible task–get the entire school high, without them knowing. If everyone tests positive, Henry is off the hook. Like all good misadventures though, nothing goes as planned.
Accepting that the scenarios presented are unlikely and outrageous, they’re still highly implausible in the given timeline. Normally, this type of action would throw me into a fit of whiny rage. The saving grace is, it’s probably the film’s only major issue. People acting stoned in an exaggerated manner– it’s nothing new and an easy target for laughs. The increasing insanity of the characters built into High School seem to rip through general apathy toward the style and make it good fun.
It’s the well known names of this film that bring the draw. Colin Hanks as the assistant principal, progresses into a further ridiculous state every time he is on screen. Just wondering what far out stage he would hit next was entertaining enough. Michael Chiklis is an over-the-top caricature of a power hungry, low level monster from the minute he pops on screen–yet when the movie shifts back to him, it’s hard not to find his madness entertaining. Of course, the big draw for the film is Adrien Brody as the psychotic, full body tattooed burn-out drug dealer. Just looking at him will make you smile.
Wrapped up in the humor is an actual story, thankfully. It’s easy to judge the stoner type that seems to breeze through life, not caring. It’s almost as easy as getting laughs out of portraying them. Still, it’s a judgment being made, without knowing the whole picture, and there’s no knowing what anyone is truly capable of. High School is not the comedy event of the century, but it’s a decent enough ride through the clam bake of life.
Rating: 3 out of 5 ‘Staches